Trump’s Economy

This Week in the Narrative 130

Trump’s economy is booming, haven’t you heard?

You would have if you’d so much as glanced at any mainstream media sources this week, from CNN to Fox News, The Washington Post to the New York Post.

Here is a simple life hack: When mainstream media abandons their usual pretext of ‘Left v. Right’ to speak together with one voice, this should be a red flag.

It most often happens with war, or, more broadly, in defense of a corporate status quo. Don’t forget, whatever type of characters they have performing on the nightly news, mainstream media is run by the same small group of corporations, the same club of billionaires.

This week, as they fawned over Trump’s economy, they went further, asking imploringly why the President doesn’t just focus on said economy, instead of all the ludicrous things he often says and tweets. Why doesn’t he stick with James Carville — “It’s the economy, stupid.” — and be done with it, they wondered.

Here’s the thing: Mainstream media is not actually asking President Trump why he doesn’t focus on the economy; they’re asking you.

A translation: ‘We know things have been tough, that many of us have struggled, but things are under control now, the economy is booming; no need to consider dramatic things like Universal Healthcare or a Green New Deal.’

That the economy is, in fact, ‘booming,’ is established in mainstream media by three sets of statistics — a growing GDP, a booming stock market, and a low unemployment rate.

Yet, nowhere in medias ‘conservative’ to ‘liberal’ is there mention that GDP is a functionally irrelevant statistic for most, in that it ignores inequality. An economy which expands while most of the new wealth is accumulated by the top 1%, as in the United States, is still one with a growing GDP. That nearly 80% of workers in the US are living paycheck to paycheck, that 30 million people have no health insurance and 40 million live in poverty, that the country has the highest childhood poverty rate in the developed world, that wages as a percentage of the economy are near an all-time low, these things have no impact on GDP.

Simply: the success measured by GDP is a success for only a tiny fraction of the population.

Similarly, a booming stock market impacts only those already well-off enough to spend money on the intangible. It may be an indicator of the number of zeros in the bank accounts of the rich, but it has little relevance in determining success for the great many in the country.

But what about the unemployment rate, surely the most tangible statistic for the ordinary person? Maybe, except, the unemployment rate itself is a unit of measurement invented nearly 150 years ago, in response to the Panic of 1873, to intentionally misrepresent the number of people out of work. Simply put, “If the US unemployment rate included everyone who says they want a job, it would be nearly double.”

Here is the point: The supposedly ‘liberal’ parts of mainstream media are not shy about displaying their hatred for the President. Yet, given the choice between Donald Trump and a disruption of the status quo, they will choose Trump every time.

This week, they were happy to boost their nemesis with economic statistics somewhere between flawed and fake.

Imagine their rush to board the Trump train should Bernie Sanders, or a progressive best-case-scenario version of Elizabeth Warren, become the Democratic nominee for President.

Quote of the Week:

Written by Nigel Clarke

Writer and notorious vagabond. From the frozen north. Follow Nigel on Twitter @Nig_Clarke.

Nigel Clarke is a Writer for Progressive Army.

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